Job Opportunity: U-Report Programme Officer
Job Opportunity: Special Adviser, Communications
Download the complete Terms of Reference and deliverable here.
Title: Communications Lead, Office of Innovation
Duration: 11.5 months (241 days)
Anticipated start date: 1 December 2016
Duty Station:  NYHQ
Section & Unit: Office of Innovation
About us.We are a small team of technologists, creatives, and ne’er do wells who look at developing, prototyping and scaling new technologies inside a 12,000 person, 70 year-old organization. Our team has built products with millions of active users, and have had more failures than we can count. We are looking for someone to help us capture the energy and excitement of a group of people trying to fix huge global problems and turn that energy into new partnerships, collaborations, and opportunities.
About you.You walk into a crowded room and feel comfortable and energized, knowing immediately who you need to talk to. You’re always told you make complex situations simple and easy to understand. You can sell ice in an igloo and can make a strategic union among parties who don’t even speak the same conceptual language.You occasionally wake up worried about killer robots, and are tracking how mobile phones, drones, VR, and blockchain are transforming the world of development. You have a firm handle on and interest in international relations, and a wicked sense of humor.

You could respond to this job application in Haikus, iambic pentameter or Chaucerian prose, but you will instead write a crisp, clear, and informative cover letter that will stand out from the rest.

Some additional background. 

UNICEF has been innovating for children for 70 years.  70 years.  That is a long time.  While UNICEF has a tradition and a history of innovating (the Mark II Handpump, the auto-disable syringe, and more) many people think of it as a “charity” or a “non-profit.”  UNICEF is an international organization and is an incredible engine for change.  We need you to tell that story.

Here are some of the assets we have, that you might not have known about:

  • Or that we have over 2.6 million young people worldwide who we can reach with a single text-message, and use their responses to our questions to create action and change?
  • Or that we are working with private sector companies to create a platform that can collect, combine, analyze, and display realtime information to obtain insights that helps inform our work, especially in emergencies.

So the background is this: we’re looking for someone to take the story of incredibly dynamic, fast-paced changemakers in a setting which most people won’t associate with dynamism and start-up thinking.  We need this story told to partners (ie: make Silicon Valley realize UNICEF Innovation is a relevant partner), to the public (breaking out of trick-or-treat and into a world of technologically driven, global change), and to UNICEF staff (help them realize how to incorporate innovations in their work).

Check out:, and @UNICEFInnovate for some idea of who we are.


About the assignment.

We are seeking a top-notch communications expert who wants to work with a dynamic start-up team in a global context and sell a story about global change.

Some of your duties will include:

  • External: Help raise the profile of UNICEF as an innovative organization by highlighting new approaches to solving big problems. This could mean writing and placing an op-ed on the intersection of tech and development in NYT, or working with our events team to produce consistent messaging over 3 global events like Google Zeitgeist, Cannes Lions, and TED Global.
  • Internal for UNICEF: Support internal messaging about new technologies and projects to help various parts of our complex international organization become comfortable with agility, failure and other ‘Silicon Valley’ concepts that may seem foreign. This could include planning internal communications strategies, staff trainings and working with a small communications team to do social media and internal production.
  • Office of Innovation Team: Ensure that the Office of Innovation has the appropriate key messages and trainings to support their specific focus areas. Help them distill complex ideas and approaches into easy-to-understand solutions for internal and external audiences. Make sure their work fits within the larger UNICEF narrative and approach.

You will start off working with one person who supports you on social and digital media and will work closely with the events lead and design and interaction team. You will create a budget for the needs you might have, which would be reviewed by the Office of Innovation management team.

Things to note about the team that may be good or bad depending on you:

  • It’s an extremely fluid environment.
  • It works at the speed of a startup x10.
  • There are weird bureaucratic rules in the UN. Some will make you mad. There are a lot of acronyms you’ll need to learn.
  • You’ll spend your days looking at the cutting edge of technology and working with some of the most interesting and creative people in the world.
  • It is not easy. But it is rewarding. You will be overwhelmed with how much you learn every day, but this will motivate and inspire you, and may make you cry a little bit.


  • University degree in Communication, Journalism, Public Relations; or equivalent professional work experience in the communication area, combined with a university degree in a related field
  • At least six (6) years of progressively responsible experience and a track record of working in print and broadcast media, interactive digital media, internal communications, and/or stakeholder engagement  (two of which should be at a management level)
  • Experience working within the development sector, ideally at UNICEF or the UN, and a background/education in international relations
  • Solid understanding of the role technology plays in the development and humanitarian sectors, as well as the UN system
  • Ability to see the big picture and connect multiple story threads into one greater narrative
  • Strong leadership skills; capacity to prioritize and manage a diverse range of partners, projects and activities
  • Great interpersonal skills and the ability to unite fragmented, and occasionally opposing teams and ideas
  • Project management skills including task prioritization, budget monitoring, and results driven strategies
  • Proactive and organized, must be able to multitask
  • Demonstrated strong writing skills
  • Fluency in English is required and in other UN Languages is an asset

How to Apply:

Applicants are requested to send their submissions to with subject line:

Application: Communications Lead” by 9 November 2016, 6pm EDT.

Applications must include:

  • Cover letter,
  • CV, and
  • P-11 form[1]
  • 1 writing assignment: Write an op-ed (800 words or less) on behalf of the Office of Innovation that we would send to The Guardian about the role big data can play in accelerating development and humanitarian work. A few articles to check out as a start are this, this, this, and this. But of course use your skills to find angles and articles that you think are relevant
  • Indicate where you heard about this advertisement

Please indicate your ability, availability and monthly rate (in US$) to undertake the terms of reference above.  Applications submitted without a daily/monthly rate will not be considered.

NOTE: Files should not exceed 5.0MB limit

UNICEF is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

Download the complete Terms of Reference and deliverables here

Job Opportunity: U-Report Programme Officer
Job Opportunity: Special Adviser, Communications